- Brno Design Days and how to create hotbeds of creativity
The thirst for design is building: wherever you turn you can find initiatives of this kind and more and more often, in addition to major events like Milano Design Week, Design Week Mexico and Biennale Interieur, new events are being rolled out regionally and locally, well off the beaten track of the traditional world of design.
One of these initiatives is the Brno Design Days, an annual event held in the city of Brno, Czech Republic and organised for the first time in 2016 by the KOGAA architecture studio to make up for the lack of a design platform where locals could showcase their achievements, network and build new relationships. The idea took off with the general public and for its third edition from 4 to 7 October 2018, it also enjoyed some interesting talks by leading international guests including Bertrand Shippan, director of the Paris office of Dutch architecture firm MVRDV; Margherita Carrara, knitwear designer from fashion house Dior; Frank Tjepkema of Tjep and Studio DeForm; Alexander Lauber of perfume house Wiener Blut and Adam Vodička of the renowned Bar Který Neexistuje.
For the 2018 edition, the architect Alexandra Georgescu, head of KOGAA, initiated a brand new event that ties in with the topic we've touched on already this week, i.e. the creative reuse of empty or abandoned buildings (link MUCA). This is not a new approach for the architecture studio that burst onto the international scene with its project called The Distillery - Social Reactor (link), making adaptive-reuse projects their leitmotif.
For Brno Design Days, the choice went to the Hotel Avion, a functionalist building in the city centre designed by local architect Bohuslav Fuchs, who adopted the vertical mingling of spaces along the lines of Le Corbusier. This very narrow, very vertical building stands out precisely for this reasons, making it the perfect place for the intricacies of the event programme. The ground floor - the darkest space in the building - was earmarked for the conferences and screenings programme; the first floor maintained its original layout and accommodated the cafeteria, with adjoining design shop. The long custom bench used as the platform for the design shop during the day doubled as a catwalk for fashion parades at night. The second floor of the hotel was instead set up for an exhibition by students and included a lounge and backstage area. The top patio was used for larger workshops.
A lot of attention went into the initiative's environmental impact and the temporary reuse of the Hotel Avion because one of the main problems with pop-up architecture is what to do with the waste material when it's all over. So KOGAA designed a modular system that could be reassembled and re-used afterwards. As a direct result of the tight budget for the installations, the structural base of all the tables, stands and bar was made from simple pallets, covered with a thin layer of painted plywood, then arranged and cut horizontally, with rounded edges, and enclosed by a layer of white metal edging.
The metal framework of all the table legs and the white metal edges were custom made by local metal design studio DURO design, and all the furniture was provided by Vitra, the event's main design sponsor. Hotel Avion was, therefore, turned into a creative and virtuous hotbed to express the ideas underpinning Brno Design Days.
Project: Studio KOGAA
Location: Brno, Czech Reoublic
from 4 to 7 October 2018
Images: Jakub Skokan and Martin Tůma / BoysPlayNice
Exhibition design: DURO design